Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

CONVENTIONS A guide to blogging your research

TBC - this is a NEW guide, replacing the previous post/paper guide
In a new series of posts I will break down the major themes/assessment criteria for Research and Planning in particular into four sections:
WHY is this required/important
WHEN should I do this
WHAT posts/content should I create
WITHIN what do I include within these
I will go on to suggest further sub-headings and themes to explore.

This impacts on several R+P assessment criteria, most directly on 'research into similar products'.

This impacts on production criteria too: 'shooting material appropriate to the task set' - that means including media language appropriate for the format, genre and artist.

Evaluation Q1 is focussed on 'use of conventions', though you will find you need to include relevant examples on all four Eval Qs.

Section A of your exam has 'use of conventions' amongst the 'DCRUP' topics for Q1a, whilst the Media Language of Q1b's MANGeR topics is essentially about defining what makes the format of music video distinctive from others (in terms of cinematography, editing, narrative etc) ... and, again, you will find that you need to refer not just to examples from your own work but from existing texts too to get high marks on all ten 1a/1b topics.

In wider terms, this is key for ideas, inspiration and intertextuality - the last being especially important for justifying any secondary audience appeal you claim.

You also need to have a very firm grasp on your artist's brand or image, whether you're re-defining this (for a younger audience) or not.

This must start on day ONE.

It must not end with pre-production, but continue through production and pre-production; many of the key editing choices, and even some new shoots for new ideas, tend to come after viewing more videos after the shoot seems complete!

ONGOING research is a central part of your 'JOURNEY'. There needs to be clear evidence and communication of how this research has been APPLIED - any blogging on this will be extremely useful for both your Evaluation and exam as well.

This is a necessarily long list. The idea is not that you do EVERYTHING on this list, but that it makes it clear the range of topics you can research as part of your extensive investigation into music videos (and websites, digipaks) and your application of this throughout pre-production, production and post-production. It should never stop until you can make no more blog alterations!

There are two basic stages to this: GENERAL conventions research and then GENRE conventions research.
Before your idea is settled, you will be analysing at least 10 videos, with at least one highly detailed analysis to showcase your semiotic skills and grasp of media language (and ability to apply some wider research).
Following the pitch, you will mostly focus on analysing the conventions of the genre/s your artist falls under - although you could/should keep your search wider to incorporate film, TV, other genres and any cultural influences you may wish to incorporate. A good example is a past Lady Gaga group who incorporated Andy Warhol and a 19th century artist into their work.

Look at a range of videos - the more the better - and reflect this in at least two initial posts. Tackle each in a separate post if you raise enough points to justify it.

Pen and paper should also be employed - as you spot/note something which may be a convention, list that on one side of a page, and on the other side note any examples (videos where this is seen: its worth noting the time within the video so you can easily find screenshots or a clip to use)


  • If you are referencing a video EMBED it, don't just link it
  • If you've done any wider research on the video, not just relied on your own intuition, make sure this is clear (and hyperlinked) - see my posts for style pointers
  • Add to a links list - you might have several for this, for example: General music videos analyses; [name] genre videos analyses; Vodcasts and summaries on/of video conventions research; Key influences on my video; Additional influences on my video; Additional videos I have referenced
  • If it is a detailed analysis, set it out as I do with detailed posts on a specific video, with hyperlinked sub-headings at the top providing basic institutional information (director, year etc), and break up your analysis with sub-headings in capitals (as I do)
  • To back up your specific points (think EAA) make sure you've provided a screenshot, gif or Vine [short video clip] - think EX! Take every opportunity to use and highlight T: terminology, theory. Whilst analysing your own work in the exam, you will need to back some points by referencing existing videos
  • In longer posts, go back and add a sub-heading for 1 or both of Key Points and/or Key Possible Influences on My Work and list (bullet points) these
  • Its worth also highlighting Things I Will Seek to Avoid! - if you see something you want to avoid, say so - you will evaluating not just how you reflected conventions but also to what extent you challenged these

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